Grassley Urges Japan to Address Trade Barriers to U.S. Beef and Gelatin;

Insurance, Banking, and Express Delivery Services

WASHINGTON - Sen. Chuck Grassley, ranking member of the Committee on Finance, with Sen. Max Baucus, chairman, today urged the Japanese government to remove scientifically unfounded barriers to U.S. beef and bovine-origin gelatin imports and the preferential treatment that Japan Post entities have received in Japan's insurance, banking, and express delivery markets at the expense of private sector competitors.

"Millions of Americans eat U.S. beef every day without any health problems," Grassley said.  "The scientific evidence put forward by international arbiters confirms the safety of U.S. beef.  Also, Japan continues to block exports of U.S. bovine-origin gelatin, most of which is produced in Iowa, although this product is safe.  Every country that enjoys the benefits of international trade is obligated to follow the rules, whether the issue is product safety or fair competition in the financial services sector."

Grassley and Baucus sent a letter to the Japanese ambassador to the United States.  The text of their letter follows.  The Committee on Finance has jurisdiction over international trade.

March 16, 2010

Ambassador Ichiro Fujisaki

Embassy of Japan

2520 Massachusetts Avenue, N.W.

Washington, D.C.  20008


Dear Ambassador Fujisaki:

We are writing with regard to certain long-standing barriers imposed by Japan to imports of U.S. goods and services.

Japan continues to place restrictions on imports of U.S. beef due to alleged concerns about bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) that are scientifically unwarranted.  The World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) determined in 2007 that U.S. beef derived from cattle of all ages is safe due to safeguards undertaken by the United States.  Moreover, millions of Americans consume U.S. beef from cattle of all ages every day, so the safety of this product cannot seriously be in doubt.  Yet Japan still limits imports of U.S. beef to beef from animals aged twenty months or younger.  This scientifically unfounded barrier to imports of U.S. beef is causing economic hardship for cattle and beef producers in Montana and Iowa.  We urge Japan to base its beef trade policies on science and to open its market to all U.S. beef.

Also citing BSE concerns, Japan has prohibited imports of U.S.-produced bovine-origin gelatin for human consumption since 2004.  Japan's policy is at direct odds with OIE recommendations, which provide that this U.S. product can be traded safely.  The Japanese ban on imports of this bovine product is negatively impacting Montana and Iowa cattle producers, and it has led to job losses in Iowa's gelatin manufacturing sector.  We urge Japan to lift its scientifically unjustified prohibition on imports of U.S.-produced bovine-origin gelatin for human consumption.

Finally, we understand that Japan is in the final stages of drafting legislation on Japan Post to submit to the Diet.  We have long been concerned about the preferential treatment that Japan Post entities have received in Japan's insurance, banking, and express delivery markets and the negative impact of that treatment on Japan Post's private sector competitors.  We urge Japan to address these concerns in its legislation so that U.S. and other private sector suppliers receive the equal treatment that Japan's international obligations require.

We look forward to improved economic relations between the United States and Japan once these serious trade concerns are resolved.


Max Baucus, Chairman and Charles E. Grassley, Ranking Member

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